Here's an easy way to detect signs of breast cancer

26 August 2018 - 00:00 By Shanthini Naidoo
Worldwide Breast Cancer, 'What Breast Cancer Can Look & Feel Like'.
Worldwide Breast Cancer, 'What Breast Cancer Can Look & Feel Like'.
Image: © Worldwide Breast Cancer, 2017. Used by permission.

In 2017 an image from Worldwide Breast Cancer depicting bright, cheerful lemons in an egg carton went viral with the caption "What breast cancer can look & feel like." So smart, I love this!

Certain signs of breast cancer are seen and not felt, so they should be seen. It's said a picture is worth a thousand words. And looking at lemons, well ... they don't make you squirm or feel embarrassed, and it's hard not to associate these yellow fruits with sunshine and lemonade.

List of signs shown in the picture (see above):

  • A thick area;
  • A dimple;
  • Nipple with crusting, itching, pain, rash, cracks, peeling, flaking, scaly, or bleeding skin;
  • Redness or heat;
  • New fluid from the nipple (especially bloody/brown or clear like water);
  • Skin sores (that are not typical skin conditions);
  • A bump;
  • A sunken nipple that is pointing in a new direction, getting flatter, or inverting (retracting inward);
  • A change in size or shape (especially one side only);
  • Skin that looks like an orange peel (larger pores, orange/red discoloration);
  • A hard lump deeper inside the breast; and
  • A growing vein.

Also worth noting:

  • Swelling or lumps where lymph nodes are located: armpit, around the collarbone, in your neck; and
  • Pain or tenderness in one spot, constant, not changing with your periods.

Checkups:

Any one of these findings is a good enough reason to check in with your doctor. No-one will think you're paranoid, and most times we discover a noncancerous reason behind the signs. So if your breast reminds you of one of those lemons in the egg carton, get it checked out.

On the other hand, don't fret that finding breast cancer is all up to you. That's why you get breast imaging and annual breast exams with your doctor.


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